Alixe Feed

Sleep

Jan 4 - Sleep

Ah, sleep. Such an elusive thing at our house at the moment.  But we're getting better at coping with the lack of sleep. It's been a huge learning experience for me this time around with Alixe because with Maximilien I didn't even have to think about sleep at all. He just slept all the time. Alixe needs help falling asleep and then staying asleep. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel and am learning her cues for when she's sleepy. And now that I am feeling healthier and stronger there's a lot of baby wearing going on.

I love this photo because a) she's asleep and  b) the cute thumb tuck she is doing. She's always done this since she was born and I saw a 3-D shot her her hand when I was in the US last summer and she was doing it then too. Every once in a while she'll pop her thumb out and it will find it's way into her mouth and that's even cuter. Maybe she'll be a thumb sucker like her brother. 

This photo is part of my Year in Photos that I am doing this year. May seem crazy that I would commit to a huge project like this but I feel like it's just what I need to keep my sanity intact. I try to find a moment in the day for myself to take my camera and snap a photo. I plan to print each photo from this year and make it into a photo book for myself. I will share bits and pieces of my year in photos here on my blog but won't make a habit of it everyday. I wrote a bit more on my January 1st photo the reasons why I want to do this. If you're curious you can read about it here.  But feel free to check out the set I created on Flickr of my daily photos of 2010. 

By the way, Happy New Year! I hope 2010 is starting off well for everyone. And I just realized that my daughter is one month old now! I owe her a letter. So, I will get working on that one. So much to write about and she had her first doctor's visit and you won't believe how big she is now. I'll share it all in her one month letter very soon.


The Fourth Trimester

Recreating the womb. Alixe & her 4th trimester

I had heard about this concept of the 4th trimester but didn't pay much attention to it when Maximilien was born. I can clearly see now how EASY he was as a newborn. He was pretty much textbook. Had his moments of crying when he needed to blow off steam before settling down for a good night's sleep. For a newborn anything more than three hours is a good night's sleep. For Max, I would have to wake him up to feed him or else he'd sleep for 6 hours if I'd let him. Alixe,on the other hand, doesn't sleep for more than a hour, maybe two hours during the day and at night (her nights start at 2am) she will sleep maximum 3 hours. And this is progress we've made over her first month! Before this she'd sleep for 30 minutes to an hour at a time and wake up and stays awake after that. She's the most awake baby I've ever met.

Well, you can imagine what toll the erratic sleeping of my petite fille has taken on her parents. Julien is faring better than I am since he can sleep through anything. I, on the other hand, am physically in tune with Alixe to the point that when she starts crying and I can hear it (not be in the same room) my breasts start to leak with the anticipation that she needs to feed. TMI, I know. :)

In the midst of desperation and massive searching on Google and asking on Twitter for any advice or new ideas I ran across Dr. Harvey Karp's website for his book The Happiest Baby on the Block. With in minutes of reading about his theories and the behavior of newborn babies, I held Alixe in my arms and was like, "This is my baby!". He talked about the fourth trimester theory and how some babies still need the extra three months of comfort, jiggling and constant noise that the womb provided for the first three trimesters. I immediately got my hands on the video and the book. Thanks to the reviews on Amazon saying that if you are sleep deprived the last thing you want to do it read a book so they suggested watching the video and complementing Karp's theories with the book later when you're sanity has returned. I've already read through more than half the book and so far we're making good progress on the sleep process.

Upon watching the video with Alixe in my lap, I followed along Karp's advice and techniques and IMMEDIATELY Alixe took to these manipulations. I have to say, the first time I saw him settle down a baby using the five S's, it brought me to tears. I simply couldn't believe it.  The five S's as Karp calls them or The Cuddle Cure. And boy, did they work! for Alixe Julien watched the video and immediately after wards took Alixe and applied the techniques and we were able to calm our screaming baby within minutes instead of hours like before. The first time we were successful of calming Alixe we looked at each other and felt like we were the best parents in the world. 

I now understand why my little girls needs to calm down and get herself to sleep. She needs a combination of swaddling, swinging, laying on her side, shushing and sucking. The photo above is her falling asleep with only the use of three of the 5 S's. This is progress because when we started the calming techniques she needed all 5 S's and she needed them loud and hard. Since we've started The Cuddle Cure, Alixe now can stay asleep for more than a couple hours during the day and at night she is starting to stretch her nights a little longer everyday. 

As I type this blog, BOTH of my kids are napping. Mama feels like a million bucks. Time for a shower and a second cup of coffee!

For those of you who are curious, the white cushion that Alixe is sleeping on is called Cocoonababy by Red Castle.


Hibernating

Mama et Alixe

We've been home just over a week now and life is starting to take a familiar routine. The late nights have started as Alixe seems to be a night owl and I repeat to myself everyday, "when baby sleeps, Mama sleeps." As hard as that is because sometimes I just want to knit or have a bit of face time with my husband, I am reminded at midnight when the night feedings begin that I should have taken that nap in the early evening. It's all a new learning curve for me. I have let go of "Max did this when he was this age" type of thinking because all it does it frustrate me because I think it would be easier if Alixe just did what I knew. Talking with a girlfriend on the phone, we reminded ourselves that we have to let go of the comparisons even though they are innocent on our part.  Alixe is a whole different baby. She doesn't get colicky like Max (thank goodness) but she is much more awake and aware than Max was at this stage. (There I am comparing again...) I enjoy the awake time with her but sometimes I run of things to sing and do with her because she's awake for like 4 hours straight sometimes.  I've taken to swaddling her when I notice she's getting tired but fighting sleep. I am finally getting good use out of the Miracle Blanket I bought for Max which didn't work because he was  brut and he'd break out of it. But with Alixe, she likes it just fine. We call her the burrito baby now. 

Snapshot: Wednesday Morning

So, the weather has turned quite cold in Paris. And in turn, we've been hibernating in our apt. Our bedroom has become command central of our apartment. I spend probably 85 percent of my day here, either laying in bed or sitting in the rocker by the heater and window.  Julien has stocked our frige and freezer full of food so that we wouldn't have to run out for anything (except fresh mlik) and we've had continuous pajama days at the Gille house. Maximilien is feeling much better. It turns out he had an ear infection on top of the lung congestion he was battling and was finally prescribed antibiotics for his ear. He is completely smitten with his sister. Everday after the Creche he comes home and immediately asks where Alixe is and goes to see her. We have a routine of him taking off his shoes, washign his hands and then kissing his sister. It's so very cute. Now instead of Mommy getting the first morning kiss, it's Alixe who gets kisses first. 

December 17th: SNOW!

We were teased all this week with low temperatures but no snow! What's the point of it being so cold if there's no snow?! Growing up in Kansas, we always had snow at this time of the year. Always had a white Christmas and probably much to the chagrin of our parents snow days from school! And snow always makes me think about my mother. She loved the snow. Today is her birthday and always for her birthday there was snow. I still have vivid memories of my mother bundling up with a homemade scarf wrapped around her standing at the door waving goodbye to us as the school bus would take us to school. Winter time always meant fires in the fire place, homemade cookies and pies and her birthday. I was down this morning when I woke up. I shuffled to the kitchen to get a drink without even looking out the window. I then came back to the bedroom, scooped up Alixe and walked over to the window and saw the snow. I immediately felt better because I felt like it was a little wink from Omma saying hello.